Out of Time

Sometimes I wake up in a room

& don’t know where I am.

My partner’s?

My daughter’s?

Home?

Sometimes I walk into a room that isn’t

even there.

carrying two cups of coffee,

one for me, one for her

and a Sunday Mail under my arm

but that was yesterday.

I’m in the 4th dimension now.

Somewhere in the distance a crow caws, a cat hisses, an old CD

is playing, ‘You’re out of time, my baby’.

I scratch my head, my balls.

How do I get back Where’s the exit door?

The entrance?

Help.

They Didn’t Tell You

They didn’t tell you when you trustingly submitted to a covid test that you’d have to quarantine for fourteen days even if you tested negative.

They didn’t tell you the queues would be so long, could take up to ten hours to be tested, and that there were no toilet facilities available, no hot dog stands

And they certainly didn’t tell you a fortnight in quarantine by yourself would be as gruelling, as solipsistic as a fortnight in solitary in a maximum security prison — and that you never even get to see your jailer

There is no training for this.

And anyway you’ve only got eight more days of madness to look forward to, so it isn’t all bad

Until you realize at the very end, your state’s in hard lockdown for at least a week so you have to go through it all over again

What it’s Like

You wanna know what it’s like? He says.

I’ll tell you what it’s like.

It’s like walking around with a ‘Vacant’ sign around your neck.

Like being scooped out by an excavator.

Or being a songbird without a voice.

It’s like walking along a jetty studded with couples clinging to each other like barnacles on pylons.

It’s like being on the esplanade ripping into a pulled pork burger like an animal ‘coz you’re on yr own so it isn’t all bad.

That’s what it’s like.


			

Bad Company

How’s your girlfriend going? she asks tonelessly..

Pam? Yeh, she’s okay, I say.

You seem to need somebody, she says. A wife, partner, a female friend.

And you don’t?

No. I must be stronger, she conjectures in her haughty voice. I can live with myself. I don’t need anyone.

Loneliness is a morose companion, I add.

She says nothing.

pic by Joey Monsoon courtesy of Pinterest

Wished I Never Knew

I wish I had never known.

Wish I had never found out

Wish I had never made that search





But I did. And that was that.

I should have remembered what

curiosity did to the cat.





But I remembered Sunday mornings

at the pool; we would walk up and down

brushing against each other





you in your lane, me in mine, sharing stories,

laughing, not getting much swimming done, giddy

in each other’s presence. We used to joke





we never saw each other in clothes.

You were always glad to see me

you were striking in your black swim suit





and blonde hair; you had an artist’s laugh

but then I had my sudden operation and when

I got back, a month later, you weren’t there.





I didn’t have your number; I asked discreetly

at the desk but they wouldn’t say. I tried Facebook

but you had a strange surname. I assumed





you moved to a pool closer to home or you

were busy with family. Four years later

unattached and lonely, I tracked you down





and found why you never returned.

You died in Feb, 2016. Peacefully at home.

All that time I thought you were alive.





But you had long gone. Death had closed

the gate. If only I hadn’t waited.

If only I’d tried sooner. But I was much too late.

Uncle Bert

I remember Uncle Bert.

He had had a stroke.

His mouth was always open

Though he never spoke.





He sat on his armchair

Alongside Aunty Pat

Who did the speaking for him.

She was good at that.





He once looked a film star

A Gable or a Flynn.

He was a dashing rake,

Tall, handsome, thin.





But now he is all empty.

He follows Aunty Pat

Obedient as a dog

Or a Welcome mat.

The Void

You’ve got to do something, mum. Volunteer. Take up a hobby [This was after dad died]. Quilting, for instance, or drawing. You used to draw as a kid.

Everyone draws as a kid.

Just trying to be helpful, mum. Mongolian throat singing, foraging. Anything. Otherwise you’ll face the void.

What void?

You don’t want to know.

A few years later she discovers it.

How’s it going, mum? I ask on a moribund Monday.

Awful. Nothing to do and all day to do it in.

That’s it, I say, the ,,,,

Don’t say it, she says.

So I ,,,,





I‘ve never posted this but seeing it was chosen as one of the top ten Drabbles of 2020 I thought I would

Courage

Sometimes I put up a post and no one visits.

No  ‘likes’.

No ‘comments’.

There is a terrible silence.

I’m like the wallflower at the dance.

The cheese that stands alone.

.I shrink. I shrivel.

I want to run, hide.

I’m the cowardly lion.

I panic.

I take the post down. I ditch it.

You must have noticed..

But once in a while, like my ‘Desecration’ post on Big Blue Mouth,

I leave it.

I stand by it.

I stand up for it.

Damn it all! It’s good, I say

Sometimes I have courage. Sometimes I don’t.